And now for something completely different – It’s Monty Python

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I love Curb your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld, but when it comes to groundbreaking, super funny madness you’ve got to give it up for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Currently showing on Prime is a  documentary on Monty Python (Sunday nights). And if you’re a fan, it is GOLD.

So far we’ve learned about the early days of the Pythons, their comic influences, how they met at Cambridge and Oxford, and the shaping of their tv careers.

It is also cool to hear comedians like Courtney Love-ing Steve Coogan and lispy lothario Russell Brand explain the power and influence of the Python boys. In pre-VCR days Coogan honed his comic skills by re-enacting Python sketches to his mates. Indian comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar reveals that his mum didn’t get Python at all, but loved the Fish slapping dance.

We get to glimpse the creation of classics like Dead Parrot, Spanish Inquisition and the Lumberjack song.

More Python stuff

The Pythons have kept on producing good stuff since the halcyon days of the Flying Circus, including  movies The Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

  • Terry Gilliam has made some fine movies, including Brazil.
  • Eric Idle wrote the musical Spamalot.
  • John Cleese did that other show called Farty Towels.
  • Michael Palin is quite the travel guru; he also wrote and directed the lovely Victorian-set movie American Friends based on his great-grandfather.
  • Terry Jones has also done some great documentaries on the Crusaders and Barbarians. One of these featured a red Speedoes moment (not to be confused with that of David Duchovny on X-Files).
  • and on a sad note, the other Python Graham Chapman died in 1989. Luckily the doco has some great Chapman clips from Parkinson and other tv appearances.

So what’s your favourite Python moment? I’ll give a tip of the hat to Drunken philosophers and Word Association Football.

11 thoughts on “And now for something completely different – It’s Monty Python

  1. richard 10 May 2010 / 2:18 pm

    So much to like – all the clever songs and wacky characters and quotable quotes. Always look on the bright side of life would probably be my favorite.

  2. Mo-mo 10 May 2010 / 2:37 pm

    As Richard says, so much to choose from. I am also keen on the drunken philosophers, not to mention the French taunter a la “your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries”.

    I also remember a sketch in which Greg Chapman was the hardworking flatcap wearing, Yorkshireman father to the foppish, public-school accented Eric Idle who was rebelliously spurning the life of his parents… The twist being that his parents were part of the poetry writing intelligentsia and he was “escaping” university to become a miner.
    I couldn’t find a clip of it but I’d love to see it again, just to know if I’m remembering it right. Does anyone else remember that one?

    • bronnypop 10 May 2010 / 6:05 pm

      Ooh, ooh, come over to mine, and we can watch the entire 7 volume box-set. Including my personal (and obscure) favourite – the one where John Cleese is organising a mountaineering trip to climb the TWO peaks of Mt Everest.

  3. Lynne 10 May 2010 / 3:18 pm

    The fish-slapping dance – truly, I wet myself when I first saw Michael Palin getting slapped. And the Lumberjack Song, sometimes I find myself humming this at odd times “I wish I was a girlie, just like my dear Mama”.

  4. Michael A 11 May 2010 / 10:56 am

    So many to chose from; I’m a sucker for running gags like the Spanish Inquisition and the Deja Vu episode but others like the Cheese Shop, Parrot Sketch and the legendary 4 Yorkshiremen. Essential, formative comedy now running through my veins and passed on to the next generation.

    • Michael A 11 May 2010 / 11:08 am

      ooo, ooo and the silly bunt travel agent and “it’s a fair cop, but society’s to blame” and, and “Mrs Niggerbaiter’s exploded” and the secret agent interview and The Larch and the Dinsdale brothers and spiny norman and Upper Class Twit of the Year and….arrgh (your correspondent is dragged of the keyboard by a large hook)

      • Donna 11 May 2010 / 12:15 pm

        Ah the cheese sketch! I still think Wensleydale every time I go to the cheesemongers in Salisbury Street.

  5. Jacqui FE 11 May 2010 / 11:31 am

    As many of the comedians said the other night, there are so many moments, i’d have to go with a top 10 rather than one moment.
    fish slapping dance, cheese shop, norwegian blue, four yorkshiremen, all of which we as a family quoted all the time and still do. My son grew up listening to Python on tape at bedtime along with the Goons from age 9 through his early teens… can’t fault that for a subliminal education!

  6. Tom 11 May 2010 / 5:43 pm

    Those parts mentioned are all great. I personally loved the specially requested by German TV episodes. These included the Cows of Bad Ischl performing ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (think fresian cows in a field mooing with subtitles of the lines from the play at the bottom of the screen) and constant cuts back to a serious documentary on the life of Albrecht Durer, not to mention the Little Red Riding Hood (a not so little John Cleese who wipes his nose with logs) the big bad wolf (a daschund puppy) culminating in Grandma’s house (which is actually a NASA launch pad where Buzz Aldrin answers the door).

    • Michael A 12 May 2010 / 10:04 am

      ‘O would ‘ave thought, thirty year ago, that we’d be sitting here drinking Chateau de Chasselas an’ blogging about Python? In those days we ‘ad it tough…

  7. rachaelccl 12 May 2010 / 8:54 pm

    I always think of my best friend in Year 9 when I think of Monty Python – she would dub the audio from the tv on to a cassette tape and we would spend lunch time sitting with an earbud each from her walkman, giggling. Classic stuff. Speaking of Classics – my lecturer in Ancient Theatre mentioned Monty Python while we were studying Aristophanes. Good stuff.

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